Monthly Archives: February 2013

How To Tuesday: Petal To The Metal.

How to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadot

You know that picture in your head, the impossibly perfect one? You see it when you’re imagining how that royal icing flood will turn out. You see it in the back of your mind when attempting a side dutch braid. You see it clearly when you’re trying to match that DIY project you saw on Pinterest. Then suddenly your flood fails, your braid is broken and your DIY is a major don’t.

We probably set ridiculously high expectations for ourselves. I know I do. I’m pretty sure I can count the number of times reality matched my imagination on one hand. This is one of those times.

I’ll admit I was terrified to try this frosting technique. It’s trendy, it’s cute and it looks super complicated. For a perfectionist like myself, I was certain it would be a flop. I was worried the consistency of the frosting would be too thick, too dry and just not friendly. I was worried my rows would start slanting and look crooked. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough frosting to finish.

All my worrying was for nothing. This technique is deceptively easy to pull off and very forgiving. The recipe I used was the perfect consistency and even the exact amount.

You want to make a petal cake of your own? Sure you do!

How to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadotHow to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadot

Start by dirty icing your layer cake with the frosting of your choice and letting that set. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip with the remaining frosting.

Pipe a vertical row of 4 – 6 dots about 1/2 – 1 inch in diameter. Depending on the height of your cake, you may need to adjust either the size or number of dots. Once you have your line of dots, use a palette, butter knife or even a spoon to smush down one side of each dot to form a line of petals.

How to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadotHow to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadot

Pipe your next row of dots over top of the skinny side of the finished petals to hide it and continue the pattern. Then just repeat the petal process until you’ve got one glorious petal cake.

It’s an impressive and trendy design but a lot easier than it looks. It looks intimidating, but you’ll realize quickly that it’s so simple and super fun! Impress your guests at your next shindig or wow your relatives at the next birthday party!

Wordsmith.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

I’m a huge fan of the written word. I love reading it, I love writing it and, above all, I love learning more about it. I’m one of those people that, when encountering a new word in a book, I immediately look up the definition. I can’t read on without it. It’s like stepping out your door with only one shoe on. You feel incomplete, imbalanced and unsure. You can stumble upon misconception just like a rusty nail.

I use my dictionary app more than my angry birds app. I probably google the origin of words and phrases at least five times a day. I just hunger for words, for knowledge, for understanding. I’m the sort of person that can’t be content in knowing a thing, I have to know why and how and sometimes when and where too.

It fascinates me that, in the grand scheme of things, English is a relatively new language and therefore borrows from other European languages. There are few English words that you can bring to mind today that aren’t influenced by another language either loosely or literally. Decimation comes from the Latin word decimatio, a punishment practice implemented by Roman generals whereby a legion would be separated into groups of ten and made to draw lots to determine the tenth to be executed. We even use words on a daily basis that are completely in another language like entrepreneur, kindergarten and chocolate.

English is this inconstant creature forever in a state of flux. It’s constantly absorbing information, always influenced by culture and changing to meet our needs. We’ve gone from Beowulf to Romeo and Juliet to Great Expectations to Harry Potter. Fedex, dance-off and muggle are in the dictionary for crying out loud!

While it’s easy to take the low road and subscribe to the opinion that popular acronyms like OMG, YOLO and LOL are somehow the architects of the English language’s demise, I prefer another theory. We’re just entering a different stage of evolution. Do you think Shakespeare and Dickens could carry on a coherent conversation without cliff’s notes? We might resist at first, but eventually the transition will come naturally.

Words are magical. Words can frighten you, delight you, thrill you and definitely inspire you. With words I can’t paint beautiful pictures before your mind’s eye. With just a few words you can be saddened, overjoyed or enraged.

For example, I could tell you that this cake is the perfect balance of chocolate and orange, bitter and sweet, rich and light, dark and bright. I could tell you that beneath waves of velvety Dark Chocolate Frosting lies a cake striped with ribbons of deep chocolate and fruity orange surrounding and thick layer of aromatic Orange Curd. Each bite is so tantalizing to all five senses we may need to define a sixth or seventh. Immediately you should begin to feel the physiological effects of these few choice words. Your pupils start to dilate, your eyes widen, your mouth waters, your stomach growls and suddenly that cookie you’re about to stuff in your face doesn’t seem good enough.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot



Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake

Source: Frosting adapted from Martha Stewart’s Dark Chocolate Frosting.

4 egg yolks
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp orange juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp orange extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Make the Orange Curd first since it needs time to set in the refrigerator.

In a small sauce pan combine the egg yolks, orange zest, orange juice and sugar with a whisk. Cook it over medium high heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 8 – 10 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers 160 degrees on a thermometer.

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and add the salt and butter, one tbsp at a time and stirring until it’s smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a medium sized bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the Orange Curd so as to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate it for at least an hour before using it to allow it to set.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper and set them aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the edge of your knife. Blend in the vanilla then the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the milk and oil. Set the batter aside and start working on the orange batter.

In a large bowl an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated. Add the orange zest and orange extract.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the milk and oil.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

Now the fun part! Alternate spoonfuls of chocolate and orange batter in each prepared cake pan, layering one on top of the other while they spread out forming tiger stripes. Bake them for 40 – 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let them sit until they’re cool enough to touch and flip them out on cooling racks to cool completely. Level off the cooled cake layers with a cake leveller or a long serrated knife.

To make the Dark Chocolate Frosting, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl until the cocoa powder is dissolved and smooth then set it aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. On low speed, blend in the cooled chocolate and cocoa mixture.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

To assemble the cake, center the bottom layer of cake on your cake plate. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip with the majority of the frosting. Pipe a thick border of frosting around the inside edge of the cake then fill it with a generous layer of Orange Curd. Place the top layer of cake on top and, with a palette knife, cover the entire cake with a thin crumb coat of frosting. To achieve the petal frosting effect, come back on tuesday for the tutorial. Enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

My Mind Lets Go A Thousand Things.

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

I’ve always been fascinated by the things our mind chooses to remember and the things it chooses to forget.

I can’t remember learning to whistle, but I can vividly remember that time in fifth grade when Justin Kennedy flashed one of his perfect smiles at me. That terrible haircut I got to impress him thankfully didn’t last for long and my whistling skills have only improved.

I can’t remember the moment I met my best friend, but I can clearly recall my recurring childhood nightmares about ET. He hid in my closet mostly and creeped up on me with his weird glowing finger. I’m still terrified of ET, but at least my best friend understands me.

I can’t recollect the details of that amazing Radiohead concert, but I can remember every excruciating hour that my cat was lost by the airline. My cat is subsequently terrible at travelling, but my souvenir Radiohead t-shirt is still my favourite despite the holes and faded patches.

Sometimes it even feels like the space between our ears is finite. You learn a new friend’s name and suddenly you forget your PIN number. You finally memorize your favourite pizza dough recipe and you forget who your eighth grade math teacher was. You cram for your written driving test and instantly forget which key fits in the back door deadbolt.

Here to illustrate my point is Thomas Bailey Aldrich with one of my favourite poems, both beautiful and aptly named, Memory.

My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour –
‘Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue moon in May –
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then pausing here, set down its load
Of pine scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

I remember seeing my sweetie for the first time. He was framed in my basement apartment peephole nervously shifting his weight to one foot while clutching a bouquet of flowers. I remember hearing his voice for the first time and being startled by how deep and warm it was. I remember how much his whiskers tickled when I kissed him. I look forward to capturing little mental snapshots like these in the years to come.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope it’s one to remember!

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot



Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake

Makes 1 loaf cake.

Source: My imagination.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup raspberry puree
1 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tbsp oil

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Grease a heart shaped cupcake silicone mold and set it aside. If you don’t have a mold like that, butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the raspberry puree and oil. Lastly, mix in the raspberry jam.

Divide the batter between the prepared heart shaped cups then bake them for 15 – 20 minutes until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out moist but not goopy. Transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely. If you opted for the cake pan instead of the heart molds, cut out your heart shapes with a cookie cutter once the cake is cooled.

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and fit a piece of parchment paper inside with enough overhang to lift the baked cake out.

In a large bowl an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the milk and oil.

Pour enough batter into the prepared loaf pan that you just cover the bottom. Place a row of raspberry cake hearts down the middle and cover them with the remaining batter. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle and sides comes out clean. It will bake considerably quicker than you average loaf cake with the raspberry cake inside. Leave it to sit until the pan is cool enough to touch safely then, using the parchment overhang, pull the cake out to cool completely.

Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. Combine the cream and butter in a small sauce pan and heat it on medium heat until the butter melts and the cream just reaches a boil. Pour it over the chocolate and let it sit covered for a few minutes before stirring it until it’s smooth.

Pour the ganache over the cooled cake for a luscious chocolate glaze. Slice and enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake7

Death By Chocolate And The Birth Of A Blog.

Death By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadotDeath By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadot

Death By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadot

Three years. I can’t believe it’s really been three years. Three years ago today I timidly introduced myself and stepped into the blogosphere. I baked cookies, snapped some photos, met you fine folks, wrote about life and wrote about love, laughed, learned, grew.

I want to say thank you for being so patient with me. I’ve been pretty absent pretty often and I appreciate your understanding. Life’s been a little nuts recently and I haven’t had the time to bake elaborate cakes and roll out flaky pie crust.

So I thought you deserved a little something special to celebrate. Hot Polka Dot is as much about you as it is about me.

What could be more decadent that chocolate? How about three different kinds of chocolate? White chocolate cheesecake sandwiched between dark chocolate cake riddled with milk chocolate chips, enrobed in whipped dark chocolate ganache frosting and topped with a trinity of chocolate curls.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Cheers to Hot Polka Dot, cheers to you, cheers to cake and cheers to three more years!

Death By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadotDeath By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadot

Death By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadot



Death By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake

2 pkg (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 vanilla bean
6 ounces (1 cup) white chocolate, melted and cooled
2 eggs

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk chocolate chips

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat the over to 325 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a 9 inch spring form pan with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom and a ring around the edge. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil and place it in a shallow baking pan full of water that reaches halfway up the pan.

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla seeds until combined well. Add the cooled white chocolate and mix well. Blend in the eggs one at a time until just barely blended.

Pour it into the prepared pan and bake it for 30 to 45 minutes until the center is almost set but still a little jiggly. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool inside for an hour. Bring it out and let it cool to room temperature with an inverted plate on top. Let it set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Next make the chocolate cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper and set them aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the edge of your knife. Blend in the vanilla then the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the milk and oil. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake them for 30 – 40 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let them sit until they’re cool enough to touch and flip them out on cooling racks to cool completely. Level off the cooled cake layers with a cake leveller or a long serrated knife.

Death By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadotDeath By Chocolate Cheesecake Cake via @hotpolkadot

While the cake cools make the whipped chocolate ganache frosting. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. Combine the cream and butter in a small sauce pan and heat it on medium heat until the butter melts and the cream just reaches a boil. Pour it over the chocolate and let it sit covered for a few minutes before stirring it until it’s smooth.

Let the ganache reach room temperature before whipping it with an electric mixer until it lightens in colour and becomes light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of chocolate cake on you cake plate. Follow that with a generous layer of whipped chocolate ganache frosting. Place the set cheesecake on top then another layer of frosting and, finally, the other layer of chocolate cake. Ice the entire cake with the rest of the frosting. Enjoy!